Hollywood actor loses appeal to have arbitration award overturned amid allegations of sexual misconduct
Kevin Spacey arrives at the Old Bailey in London last month. His request to have the order overturned was denied by a US judge in Los Angeles on Thursday. Photograph: Frank Augstein/AP
Kevin Spacey has lost his appeal to have a $31m (£25.5m) arbitration award to the producers of House of Cards overturned.
In November, the Hollywood actor was ordered to pay the sum to MCR following “explosive” allegations of sexual misconduct involving young crew members working on the production.
Spacey had filed to have the order overturned, but his request was denied by a US judge in Los Angeles on Thursday, according to documents obtained by the PA Media news agency.
Judge Mel Red Recana wrote that Spacey and his attorneys “fail to demonstrate that this is even a close case” and “do not demonstrate that the damages award was so utterly irrational that it amounts to an arbitrary remaking of the parties’ contracts”.
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling,” MRC’s attorney, Michael Kump, said after the ruling.
The original filings from MCR detailed how Spacey was removed from the hit Netflix show following allegations he was “systematically preying upon, sexually harassing, and groping young men that he had worked with throughout his career on film, television, and theatre projects”.
The arbitrator concluded that Spacey had repeatedly breached contractual obligations to provide services “in a professional manner” that were “consistent with [MRC’s] reasonable directions, practices and policies” – including its anti-harassment policies.
The actor starred in House of Cards for five seasons, playing the calculating politician Frank Underwood, before being cut from the show after the allegations surfaced.
In the original ruling, the arbitrator also found that Spacey was not entitled to be paid for the remainder of his contract, as his dismissal had caused the show’s sixth season to be shortened and rewritten and cost MRC millions in lost revenue.
The latest development comes shortly after Spacey appeared in a UK court last month to “strenuously” deny further allegations of sexual assault charges dating back 17 years.
He denied five allegations relating to three men, now in their 30s and 40s, at the Old Bailey in London on 14 July. The alleged offences are said to have taken place in London and Gloucestershire between 2005 and 2013, during which time Spacey was artistic director of the Old Vic theatre.
Mr Justice Wall set a trial of three to four weeks from 6 June next year, with a further hearing due to take place earlier in 2023.
Spacey is also due to face a civil case, to be heard in New York in October 2022, brought by the actor Anthony Rapp – Spacey’s first public accuser.